Public Charge – Financial Implications of Being a sponsorPosted on Wednesday, December 5, 2018
As you know, most people applying for a green card or other immigration benefit must show that they have financial support in the United States. This is because most applicants are not eligible for any public benefits, such as welfare or food stamps. In order to meet this requirement, the petitioning family member must complete an affidavit of support, indicating that they earn enough money to support the person they are petitioning for (as well as their entire household). If he or she does not earn enough money, then another person (called a co-sponsor) who does earn enough money must also sign an affidavit of support.
Signing an affidavit of support is a contract between you, the green card applicant, and the government. It means that if your family member obtains the green card, you have an obligation to support them if they cannot support themselves, and if your family member receives public benefits to which they are not entitled, the government can recover the money from you. Please note that this obligation exists even if you divorce the family member you petitioned for.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is proposing to make it harder to prove that you have financial support in the United States, and to make more people ineligible for green cards or other immigration benefits. Additionally, we have heard reports that some people have been denied entry to the United States because the consulate did not consider the co-sponsor who signed the affidavit of support to be a close enough family member, and therefore could not be counted on to support the person if necessary (there is absolutely no basis in the law for this requirement). At the time of this writing, the Trump Administration has not yet made a decision about how these rules may be changed. Please stay tuned to learn about any important changes to this process which could impact your immigration application.